West Virginia gov urges Republicans to 'swallow' unrelated spending in Biden COVID-19 relief plan

Jim Justice tells 'Special Report' Senate GOP will 'have to be able to stomach something to get everything across the finish line'

Republican West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice urged Senate Republicans Wednesday to "swallow" the hefty price tag of President Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief plan, warning lawmakers that "you will leave a lot of people hurting" if they continue to oppose the legislation.

Justice responded on "Special Report" after Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, dismissed Biden's proposal as a "clunker" full of Democratic pet projects and unrelated items.

"I've got all the respect in the world for a good senator ... [and] you've got to understand, I am not an advocate of the projects, I can't stand those," Justice told host Bret Baier. 

"But," he added, "in this whole situation, we are going to have to be able to stomach something to get everything across the finish line."

ROMEY CALLS BIDEN COVID RELIEF BILL A 'CLUNKER'

Romney is one of several Republican lawmakers who have criticized the provisions outlined in the relief bill. Among them are a $1,400 stimulus checks going to mixed-status families with undocumented immigrants; permission for Planned Parenthood to receive Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds designed to keep small businesses afloat; and nearly $600 million allocated for additional emergency paid family leave for federal employees and U.S. Postal Service workers.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., predicted that the Senate would pass the bill before March 14, but Biden could face serious challenges in his attempt to gain Republican support for his proposal, especially with a $15-an-hour federal minimum wage requirement and debate over how much money to funnel to struggling state and local governments.

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Justice said he hopes Republicans will come around to the idea even if "we happen to just throw away a few dollars" in order to "really jump-start our economy and take care of all the people that are out there hurting.

"Let's go big enough that we can get there," he said. "We don't need to throw money away just to be throwing money away. But we've got to go big enough to make it happen."

WHAT'S IN BIDEN'S $1.9T STIMULUS PLAN?

The West Virginia governor also touted his state's coronavirus vaccine distribution program, which ranks among the most effective in the country. Justice said that 100% of doses received by the state have been administered or assigned to be administered.

"This was not rocket science and it is still not rocket science," he said of the state's vaccine rollout.

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"Our model is real simple ... our local pharmacies, all of our local clinics, our National Guard stepped up and we took off," Justice explained. "We took off with the people that we knew were going to die [if infected], and that was our elderly, and we absolutely got ourselves back in school because we vaccinated all of our teachers and service personnel right off the get-go."

"We looked at it as age, age, and age," Justice said, " and that's all there is to this."

Fox News' Edmund DeMarche contributed to this report.